Travellers often ignore the health risks just for the sake of having fun


Travelling is just great way to educate yourself and to expand your perception of the world, life and even yourself. Spontaneous journeys always seem the best ones, but some precautions still have to be made. For example, this new study led by the University of Queensland showed that Australians often ignore potential health risks when travelling.

Balinese monkeys often jump on tourists and bite them. And a lot of them spread infectious diseases. Image credit: mckaysavage via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Sadly, travelling is not healthy. First of all, staying on the plane for long periods of time is just bad for you. Air is thinner and dryer on the plane, you are stressed and uncomfortable. The longer you travel, the worse it becomes. And then there is a matter of where you go. Do you need some vaccines? Is there something you need to know about the food and water in that place? Do you know how to get medical help in case you need it there?

Australians live far from pretty much everything, but they do love to travel. But are they health-conscious enough about it? Scientists surveyed 300 Australians about what precautions they take when they travel. Participants had travelled to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in the preceding three. That part of the world presents many challenges, one of them being wild animals, infected with rabies. However, half of the respondents said they don’t need rabies vaccines, because they will stay away from wild animals. You know how that goes – Balinese monkeys are always around to jump on people and bite them.

This means that travellers don’t pay attention. If they read about it, they would know that sometimes you don’t have to go into the wild to get bitten. Tourists feed monkeys and they are used to being close to people. Now they demand food and can be aggressive, rabid or not. But why travellers don’t read about this?

Well, scientists found that they have an excuse to be negligent of their own health. They solely focus on pleasure-seeking and fun. Hopefully, this research and articles writing about it will encourage people to consult health professionals before travelling. Dr Jie Wang, one of the authors of the study, said: “Highlighting why travellers should do something as simple as having a pre-travel health consultation four to six weeks before departure or taking out travel insurance could help reduce the negative health outcomes of international travel”.

Scientists are already working on the second stage of the study. Now they will try to design specific recommendations to travellers. Also, messages that would encourage them to travel safe and read about potential health hazards in other countries. Even though this study focused on Australian travellers, you should take it to heart and read about your destination before your next trip as well.


Source: University of Queensland


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